It’s All Relative

It's All Relative coverIt’s All Relative: How to Create Your Own Personal Family History Trivia Game
Bonsey and Healey

Submitter: Our library has been weeding regularly, but somehow this gem was overlooked until it was returned recently.  This book is hilariously terrible and it’s hard to imagine any family, past or present, sitting around playing a game with such bizarre personal details.  Published in 1988 by sisters, the main focus of the book is how to research and record a family’s history in order to turn facts and memories into a “priceless keepsake game” for “future generations to cherish,” but it is the sample and example questions provided for interviewing family members that make it truly awful!

These questions include random odd things, such as, “What color was ?’s first sofa?” or “What was ?’s paperboy named?” to the very outdated “How much was a Hershey Bar in 1963?” and finally, to the strange and inappropriate:
How old was ? when she wore her first bra?
During her pregnancy, how much weight did ? gain?
How much alimony did ? have to pay?
What’s the most ? has ever weighed?
How many times has ? been to the emergency room?
Why didn’t ? go to ?’s funeral?
Who hasn’t been to the dentist since (year)?

Our reference staff agreed that the winner of worst question for a family trivia game appears in the “entertainment” section (see picture of questions).  Not to be outdone by potential readers, the authors provide horrible example questions throughout the book too: “What kind of sandwich did Grace Bonsey eat on January 1st, 1946? (it was Italian!)” and “What TV actor did Grambee insist was a cripple? (Raymond Burr in “Ironside”).”

While this book might have some appeal for nosy spinster aunts or families that live isolated on compounds, it has thankfully been removed from our system.

Holly: Family holiday togetherness just got more interesting!  I’m just imagining the potential fights and who would disown whom for asking half of these questions in my family.  Some of those sample questions are definitely disrespectful.  I’d weed this in my library too.  There are some great web sites that help you create family trivia games that are much better than this.

It's All Relative back cover

Family trivia

Trivia questions


  1. I do not wish to know many of these things about family members. Especially the virginity question.

  2. I always had an extremely close relationship with my sister, to a point that everybody found us weird since as far as I can remember, and to the extent that we were forcefully separated by our folks at some point in our teenage years – they sent us ‘getting a better education’ in two different countries with no way to contact each other directly… Once we reached adulthood we severed contacts with everyone else but ourselves, mostly by resentment of their misunderstanding and unacceptance of our bond. I think if we could find this book, we would send it to our folks as a nasty gift… Most of these questions would lead them to speculate horrendous answers for sure !

  3. I can see a family trivia game being kind of cute/fun, espc. for a family reunion or something like that… and especially if your family is made up of genealogy nerds like mine. HOWEVER… these questions are absolutely horrible!

  4. Take it out of the library and send it to a library in Hollywood where screenwriters get ideas. The possibilities this book holds for movies is almost endless.

  5. wow….I really want to see this book in person. I can’t stop laughing at “What TV actor did Grambee insist was a cripple? (Raymond Burr in “Ironside”).”
    so weird!

  6. @Dinah – Well, it’s kind of awkward to reply to a book that’s all about TMI between family members. I’m sorry, even if I found a man desperate enough to marry me I’d prefer my dad think I’m STILL a virgin. I sure wouldn’t want him to know the answer to that question.

    Oy vey! I mean, being able to answer stories on how your parents met is cute. (It was a blind date – mom was dad’s first ever girlfriend, she was a divorcée with three boys. He had to propose seven times before she said yes.) Knowing when my brothers lost their virginity – something I really don’t WANT to know!

  7. Add a few drinks to the mix and this game could be the greatest thing EVAR!
    First question should be modified to: “HOW FAR did ? and ? go on their first date?”
    The question “When did ? lose his virginity?” should be immediately followed by, “And did ? ever find it again?”
    Honestly, could there be any way to play this game without starting a massive fight?

  8. LOL!!!!

    That’ll let the family skeletons & gays out of the closet.

    (…and if ? said he lost his/her virginity in 1980, then you can be sure it was really ’85).

  9. What slutty cousin got knocked-up in 1978 by a married man and had an out-of-wedlock baby who grew up to be a meth addict?

    Oh, hours of famiy fun!

  10. This might be a fun game for folks seeking out their roots, but the party would die in seconds after someone asked about weight or virginity. Oy!

  11. Wow, certain people in my family barely speak to each other as it is. This togetherness activity would NOT help.
    I’m personally not really sold on the family memories as a board game or something idea, but I wouldn’t mind getting having some of my relatives, especially the older ones, divulge some more of their interesting tidbits before it’s too late. I recently learned that one relative lived in the house while her spouse lived in the garage (one of those can’t live with and can’t live without situations), which explained a lot… And I got that information without asking any of those awkward questions the book recommends!

  12. This could be sent to the bindery and come back as “How to generate website security questions”. Instant reuse!

  13. So how does the fact that one of my great-grandfathers on the paternal side was born a year after his mother died factor into these questions?

    Because we don’t know exactly what happened there, either.

  14. How big was Great-Uncle Edmund’s …………………… ? (No fair! Trick question! At the time of death, or when he won the award in 1958?)

  15. What worries me is that the cover picture shows a family and what appears to be a small boy. I doubt this game is G rated, especially if ? decides to elaborate on the question of when he lost his virginity by telling the whole story.

  16. It’s strange that the basic premise of the book seems so old-fashioned and quaint and then the sample questions themselves are so rude.

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